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FL: "Pay to Play" Privatization Under Fire

In Monday's Stateside Dispatch, we detailed the problems of corruption in the state, including the problems when state contract out public services to the corporate allies of politicians. In Florida, another example has embroiled the state's Attorney General, Charlie Crist, in charges by a judge that Crist is undermining a court investigation into charges that the global firm Convergys illegally defrauded the state in management of a $350 human-resources contract, which has been embroiled in delays, lax security for confidential records, and linked to identity theft. Convergys has outsourced work to India and allegedly allowed workers there to view confidential records of up to 100,000 state workers. Crist, also a candidate for Governor, is under fire because one of Convergys's top lobbyists is also one of Crist's top aides and the company has donated $37,000 to the Republican Party since it was awarded the contract in 2002. Whether there was a direct quid pro quo, the allegation is that the financial relationship between Convergys and top public officials meant they let privatization of public services move forward with a company that shouldn't have been given that public trust.